The shadow of the big names | The Montreal Newspaper


DENVER | There are Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev and Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning, as we have known for some time, is full of champions.

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In this team, Anthony Cirelli spends a little more in the shadows of them. But his impact remains substantial. And his game does not go unnoticed in the eyes of his teammates.

On the ice, Cirelli tries to overshadow the best forwards of the opposing team.

Prior to this sixth game of the final, the 24-year-old from Ontario had spent more than 40 minutes on the ice five-on-five against six different forwards: Mika Zibanejad (60 min 28 s), Auston Matthews (52 min 52 s), Frank Vatrano ( 51 min 40 s), Mitchell Marner (47 min 1 s), Chris Kreider (42 min 19 s) and Nathan MacKinnon (40 min 43 s).

In this group of six, there is a 60-goal scorer in Matthews, a 50-goal scorer (52) in Kreider, a 90-plus-point right winger (97) in Marner and two 80-plus-point centers in MacKinnon. (88) and Zibanejad (81). And if he had played more than 65 games this season, MacKinnon would have hit the 100-point plateau, just like Matthews in Toronto.

know where they are

Despite more dominant rivals, Cirelli has a +1 record after 22 playoff games. He also scored three goals and had five assists for eight points.

“I like it as a challenge, I’ve always wanted to receive important missions, Cirelli said during the day dedicated to the media at the Ball Arena, before the start of the final. I am very proud of my defensive game. “

“People are talking about me, but it’s still a collective effort to slow down the other team’s big names,” he continued. The key is to always know where they are on the ice. This was the case against Matthews, against Barkov, against Zibanejad and against MacKinnon. “

Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins won the Frank Selke Trophy for the fifth time in his career this season, beating Elias Lindholm of the Flames and Alexander Barkov of the Panthers in the ballot. If he didn’t find himself among the three finalists, Cirelli finished fifth for this honor.

bear the pain

Scorer of the first goal in a 3-2 overtime defeat in Game 4 against Avalanche, Cirelli ended the game despite an injury, possibly in an arm.

He had bad luck during this bout, getting a kick from his teammate Alex Killorn. Since that play, Cirelli has not had a signing.

He was in his place for the fifth game of the final, but he gave his place to Brandon Hagel in the faceoff circle.

When asked about the challenge of playing despite a few plagues, Cirelli refused to make a big deal out of it.

“I think you just have to jump on the ice and play hockey,” he replied. They are just our game plan. When you are in the heart of the action, you just focus on that and think of nothing else. “

Before winning the Stanley Cup twice with the Lightning, in 2020 and 2021, Cirelli also experienced the joy of victory with the Oshawa Generals, winning the Memorial Cup in 2015.


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